Your Body During a Breakup: The Science of a Broken Heart

Breakups are emotional roller coasters. Actually that’s not true. If a breakup was anything like a roller coaster the end would be visible from the start, you could say ‘no thanks’ to the ride and at the end of it, for a hefty sum the memory could be savoured forever with a flimsy cardboard-framed photo.

Breakups are are more like being under a roller coaster. 

Before we knew the science we knew the feeling, and used words associated with physical pain – hurt, pain, ache – are used describe the pain of a relationship breakup. Now we know why. The emotional pain of a breakup and physical pain have something in common – they both activate the same part of the brain

Brain scans of people recently out of a relationship have revealed that social pain (the emotional pain from a breakup or rejection) and physical pain share the same neural pathways.

In one study, 40 people who had recently been through an unwanted breakup had their brains scanned while they looked at pictures of their exes and thought about the breakup. As they stared at the photos, the part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up.

[irp posts=”1144″ name=”Dear Broken Hearted One … When You’re In The Thick of a Break-Up.”]

As explained by researcher Ethan Kross, ‘We found that powerfully inducing feelings of social rejection activate regions of the brain that are involved in physical pain sensation, which are rarely activated in neuroimaging studies of emotion.’

He continues, ‘These findings are consistent with the idea that the experience of social rejection, or social loss more generally, may represent a distinct emotional experience that is uniquely associated with physical pain.’

In further support of the overlap between physical and social pain, Tylenol (an over the counter medication for physical pain) has been shown to reduce emotional hurt.

Research has found that people who took Tylenol (an over-the-counter medication for physical pain) for three weeks reported less hurt feelings and social pain on a daily basis than those who took a placebo.

The effect was also evident in brain scans. When feelings of rejection were induced, the part of the brain associated with physical pain lit up in participants who didn’t take Tylenol. Those who took Tylenol showed significantly less activity in that part of the brain.

Nobody is suggesting that the broken hearted turn to pain medication to reduce their lean towards Kleenex, Baskin-Robbins and repeated viewings of Love Actually. Long term use will cane the liver. Somebody else is waiting to fall in love with you, but you and your liver have to stay friends forever.

The Physical Side of a Broken Heart

The human brain loves love. Being in love takes the lid off the happy hormones, dopamine and oxytocin, and the brain bathes in the bliss. But when the one you love leaves, the supply of feel good hormones takes a dive and the brain releases stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine.

[irp posts=”1042″ name=”Letting Go: How to Master the Art”]

In small doses, stress hormones are heroic, ensuring we respond quickly and effectively to threat. However in times of long-term distress such as a broken heart, the stress hormones accumulate and cause trouble. Here’s what’s behind the physical symptoms of a breakup:

  • Too much cortisol in the brain sends blood to the major muscle groups. They tense up ready to respond to the threat (fight or flight). However, without real need for a physical response the muscles have no opportunity to expend the energy.

    Muscles swell, giving rise to headaches, a stiff neck and that awful feeling of your chest being squeezed.

  • To ensure the muscles have an adequate blood supply, cortisol diverts blood away from the digestive system.

    This can cause tummy trouble such as cramps, diarrhea or appetite loss. 

  • When stress hormones run rampant, the immune system can struggle, increasing vulnerability to bugs and illnesses.

    Hence the common ‘break-up cold’.

  • There is a steady release of cortisol.

    This might cause sleep problems and interfere with the capacity to make sound judgements 

  • Breakups activate the area of your brain that processes craving and addiction.

    Losing a relationship can throw you into a type of withdrawal, which is why it’s hard to function – you ache for your ex, sometimes literally, and can’t get him/her out of your head. Like any addiction, this will pass.

In a relationship, your mind, your body and the core of you adjust to being intimately connected someone. When that someone leaves, the brain has to readjust. The pain can be relentless but eventually the body chemistry will change back to normal and the hurt will diminish.

Getting through a breakup is as much a physical process as an emotional one. Remember that, and know that it will get easier. Keep going. You’ll get there.

474 Comments

Veronica

It was about a month since me and my girlfriend decided to go different paths. I really loved her and I guess she felt the same, but it does not matter anymore. We had so different needs and the mental illness just tore us apart. I do not know why but we never spoke about our future, no further plans or stuff. I was just so attached to her and grateful for her being by my side. I have never met anyone like her before, she were my best friend and partner. She told me that this decision is for our own good and well I belive her, but since she left me I can not control myself from feeling constant stress and anxiety. My heart only rest when I am thinking about her and when I force myself to stop it gets hard. What can I do? This stress can not be good for my system and health…

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Hannah

I have been in a marriage for almost 14 years my spouse didn’t physically cheat but for sure emotionally cheated and even quit having sex with me he literally broke me heart he also threatened divorce multiple times because at one point he didn’t understand why I wasn’t getting pregnant and after I did he stayed with me but the emotional cheating was recent only a few months ago and still hurts I no longer trust him and he denies me any intimacy and has left me broken and I feel like I’m dying inside I can’t sleep I’m never hungry never have an appetite and hardly eat it has effected me so much and I cry a lot and unsure what to do I’m a Christian woman and want to do the right thing

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Russell

I have a daughter with my ex (we was together for about 5 years) she sent me a message via whatsapp and left my life about 7 months ago .I can still see my daughter.

The anxiety and panic attacks are out of this world and I dont feel like the world is real. I think about my ex 24/7.

I been put on Citalopram/celexa for my panic attacks.

I litterly feel crippled by this and want to spend most of my time sleeping.

I don’t know what to do.

I hope this medication would make me feel more normal.

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Avery

My girlfriend and I were best friends for two years and we were in a relationship for 10 months. We both loved eachother a lot, go to the same college, live in the same dorm, and go to the same Church. We had a lot of fond and fun memories, had both of our first kiss and first love together although we had been in other relationships before. We both had a true connection. However, we are both 19 and I was a football captain at my school, I am very muscular, don’t curse, study the Bible hard, and a, trying to get into Vet school. I have been told by her and other girls that I am very good looking, so attraction was definitely there. However I also treated her well, I would hold her when she cried or was cold, I would always pick her up, and I was always giving my time to her and making sure she knew she was my priority. She also came from a very strict Baptist family where all the members get married young, like 19 or 23. We both worked out good together and I told her I would marry her after college and she wanted that as well. However in the last month she said her spirit had been troubled so she had to break up with me to please God, I’m not really sure why, but she told me that God wanted her to be alone, and God wanted to punish us for being together because she wasn’t called for marriage. It was very shocking because the reason I was willing to marry young was for her, and she was crying, but I had a breakdown where I cried a lot, and tried to make the relationship work, and I even begged her to stay. My sister was there and said I acted like a big baby, but a lot of people included her friends say that is normal in a break up. My girlfriend however blamed me in the end for my reaction and said she knew why her spirit was troubled and said to please not text her again. Her Ex best girlfriend when she told her she broke up with me because her spirit was troubled actually defended me and stuck by me. She told me I did nothing wrong, and so did one of the girls that is still friends with her. One says to never take her back, and another says maybe on a rainy day you all will reconnect again. It has been 4 months and I have been asked on 3 dates and although they were fun I don’t feel anything meaningful. Also in the relationship we pursued God, stayed abstinent, did Bible studies, and went to Church together as well as talk about our beliefs.

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K.

I can’t sleep, I can’t eat… I can’t sit in silence without thinking of him. I feel confused, lost and sick… my soul aches. I fell in love. I fell in love with a friend. I fell in love with a friend who had feelings and wanted to date me, but I wasn’t ready. I had never been ready for love. Later I was, and I told him I had feelings too, I wanted to date him too… but he had changed his mind, he didn’t want to get hurt, he didn’t want a relationship. We stayed friends. I should have left if I had the littlest of respect for my heart but I stayed. Because I wanted to be with him, even if we were just friends. Friends in love. Then he left. He said, he couldn’t talk to me anymore… that he didn’t want to get attached… that he didn’t want to get hurt. Why was my first love with someone I couldn’t even be with? Why does it hurt so much… we only knew each other for a little over two months. I feel like I’m drifting into a state of nothing, into a place of emptiness, falling into myself inside my mind… I don’t know what I want anymore. I just hope the hurt away… and I hope he forgets me, because I don’t wish to cause him pain. I hope he forgets me and doesn’t think our love was a mistake… God I hope he’s okay.

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Latika

You can talk to good people around you. Just see do you want this life where you are not happy or positive. Trust me this a process and you are going to get over him. There are over 8 billion people in this whole world and someone out there is waiting to love you. Still if you want to talk you can talk to me.

Latika

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nicole

this is my exact situation, i’m currently going through this and i hope you’re doing better <3

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Liz

Dear K.

There is no pain that lts forever, what you feel is part of this process of growing, two months is minimum comparing with the amount of many months of happiness you will experience with someone that truly loves you no matter what.
Keep up and be kind with yourself, that pain will go over for sure!

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Jane T

I’ve gotten myself into a terribly bad situation and really need advice. I had been dating this guy for almost a year, our relationship began getting rough towards the end for the reason that I think is I didn’t find him the most attractive. He treats me like absolute gold and I love him for being him and for everything he does. Towards the end our sex stopped happening and it got more and more rough until I said we needed to end things. Shortly after that I slept with someone and it made me feel terrible that I did so, so quickly. As my ex was and is still deeply in love with me and doesn’t understand what he did wrong to loose me. I stopped talking to my ex and me and this other guy began staying together and continued what we were doing with the label “Friends With Benefits” we promised if anyone caught more feelings we would let one another know and be completely honest. I was not interested in another relationship. But one thing led to another and I caught feelings and once telling him he told me he felt exactly the same.

Although for some reason I still wanted a connection with my ex, he was always in the back of my mind. I wanted to be friends with him. Things got messy I tried having that friendship but the other guy I was talking to could not handle it. Our feelings had grown to strong and jealousy began forming. We were getting jealous about things one another would do and we were fighting. I did stop talking to my ex for him for about a week because I noticed it was hurting him that I did so and seeing him so down was hurting me. That week he was so happy but I was not, I wanted to make a friendship work with my ex, I missed him in my life. I didn’t understand how I was feeling, how could I be having feelings for both of these men. One day something snapped in me and I realized I need to start doing things for me to make myself happy instead of always trying to be the people pleaser. So I hung out with my ex and once I told this other guy things blew up and he told me I had to choose between them.

I shut down and said I can’t do that, I’ve developed strong feeling for both this guy and care about him so much. But I also think I may still be in love with my ex. My ex and I talked, I told him I had been sleeping with this other guy shortly after we ended. But, still has strong feelings for me and wants to get back together. On the other hand the other guy is so broken now, what we thought was going to be friends with benefits turned into so much more… It’s hurting me to see him this way and I have no idea what I should do. I think I’m in love with both of these guys… I don’t know what to do.

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Nelly

It would’ve been 10 years in December, he was my best friend, soul mate, my safe zone and the person I couldn’t wait to see every single day, the person that made my day feel better when he held me. He is muslim, I am catholic, we kinda had a secret relationship but not. He met my friends and family early on, but I was never introduced to his family and friends, of course I know why, having a girlfriend when you’re Muslim is frowned upon, but I held on because I fell in love and thought it would all work out. My family would question me on where it was going and constantly said I would experience struggles in the future, (although they liked him very much, and they should, he is a great person) I had a deep conversation with my partner years ago about marriage and how it would work because lots of people were saying to me that I may have to convert, the reply I got was, no I did not have to convert because Muslims are allowed to marry catholic’s, this made me feel tons better and I started to feel so excited for our future together. He has always said due to his religion he would need to get married the Right way, the Islamic way, this is when he spoke to an imam (a leader of a mosque and Muslim community who approves marriage). I understood this was very important to him and I felt happy about it. Around a week ago, he came back and said that all the imams he had spoken too refused to get us married unless I converted to Islam, he felt distraught as he knew early on that it’s something I couldn’t do, ( I wouldn’t say I’m a practicing catholic, however, I always planned to get better, due to the fact that my mum and dad who passed away when i was young took me and my siblings to church every sunday, they raised me this way and I owe it to them) and even if I did convert, it would be because I’m in love with him, that’s the wrong reason to convert , you need to love the religion and be committed to the way of life. There is no other option for us to be together unless I convert, I’ve tried. ( he is also heartbroken) So we’ve both said that it’s best that we separate ( I don’t say this lightly, we’ve both cried more than ever) . I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m torn apart, confused, shocked, and feel PHYSICAL PAIN, I always heard about heart break syndrome and said to myself surely not, wow, it’s f**king real, I can’t sleep and if I do, it’s an hour max. I wake up with my heart beating so fast I can’t even breathe, I want to cry at every second. I thought he was the one, but we want different things, I planned so much with this man. -please tell me this pain will heal. (I’m sorry this is so long)

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Aidan

Oh my gosh. That was hurtful to read. I am an ex-Muslim. A Muslim man can marry a Christian as per Islamic law so I’m not sure what’s wrong with the imams he’s talking to. But regardless, you do not want to convert to Islam because you can’t leave Islam if you change your mind later. Read about Islam and apostasy. Maybe you should get him to leave Islam so you can just be a couple like everyone else. Islam forces people to get married. I pray for your wellbeing.

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nermine

Hello, I have this same situation and it fcking suckss so much. I understand each and every word that you wrote

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Jeanette

How long does it hurt for? Going on 3 years now and I’m starting to think the pain will last forever. 3 years of a steady release of cortisol can’t be good for my system.

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Riya

Its because you allowed your pain to be alive. Our brain keeps reminding us ( because of the comfort that person provided) – everything is replaceable if we wish too. what if that person died? you would have moved on right?

People meet for a reason/lesson. You did not waste 30 years – so get back on track please.

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T

Wow! It’s really eye opening and oddly helpful to read everyone’s stories. My girlfriend and I broke up officially a little more than a month ago now. It’s been an emotional journey for a long time as we were doing long distance before the pandemic hit. We hadn’t seen each other for a month and a half and then when quarantine hit we weren’t able to see one other for 4 month’s…. That was hard. I lost some of my passion for the relationship. Facetime wasn’t cutting it anymore, the depression of losing both our jobs from Covid was stressful, and I think both of our priorities just shifted… When we did finally get the chance to reunite it felt different. She was the same beautiful person I remembered but something was just off. I didn’t know how to be with her again and that hurt me. We both had our insecurities about how to proceed so she asked me all these question’s that now I’ve realized had answered poorly. I wanted to give her an answer but should have taken more time to process. This ended is us taking a break. That lasted about two weeks until I called her up and told her that ‘my life without you in any capacity is less light and I am ready to see you again’. We had both moved back to our parent’s houses temporarily in CA. I was in SoCal, she was in NorCal so I bought a car to help with commuting back and forth trying to balance taking care of my family, our relationship, COVID, and myself. This started to take it’s toll on me… I was no longer showing up as much as I needed to and that effected a lot of things. As time moved forward we both realized it was time to go back home. We were planned a road trip across the country that my girlfriend wanted to do. I was planning it for her cause I knew how badly she wanted to do it and I had been looking forward to it also. Had my share of concerns and worries about it but I was able to set that aside because I wanted this trip to help of relationship. So one thing led to another, I was in SoCal with my family and she was up North. I was still being a little distant over the phone cause I was dealing with some family stuff. That left my girlfriend uncertain about the trip and 2 days before we were supposed to leave she called me to say ‘I don’t think we should do this, and we should break up’ So we did…

A few months later I found myself back in the same city as her so we reconnected. And let me tell you, I fell in love with her all over again and I wanted her back. She told me she was afraid of getting hurt again so she became a little hesitant with me about how to proceed forward. Which I understood. I didn’t want to get hurt either. We were kinda playing games with each other for a few weeks. Feeling like we were dating again but really not confused me. We were both lonely and enjoyed each others presence and she said with me its ‘just easy’. I didn’t want to be someone’s easy, she didn’t want to get back together so to save us both the emotional confusion we split up for good…

I think of her everyday.

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Reanne L

Hi there…
I read your thoughts on break ups and this really helped me. I appreciate the information. I’m 22 years old and I’ve been in a relationship since high school for 6 years. Yup. We were high school sweethearts but the relationship was always on and off. When I went away to college we maintained the relationship but he would always lie to me. He even traveled to see me (12 hours away from our hometown) and still hid text messages from me, etc. When I returned back home for summer vacation I took a class at my local community College. A girl I thought they were just friends with sat next to me. She told me one time he got drunk and confessed his feelings for her a few months back. I was so confused because we were together during that time. Anyways, this was the first time I felt betrayed by him. I eventually forgave him and we got back together shortly after that incident even though I never let it go. When I graduated from college he even went to my ceremony. I studied abroad in England for 4 months, he flew out to visit me. We traveled to Italy and Amsterdam for Xmas. You get the picture. We have so many memories together. Despite being extremely toxic, I have love for him so much. I was so comfortable around him. When I came back from Europe last year, I moved in with him at his parents house. I got comfortable and stayed there not working or contributing to rent (his parents didn’t mind). My ex wanted to help me with commuting to work so he co-signed a car for me. Yes, we financed a car together. This was a bad idea…. Anyways, being stuck in a room together we would always argue. He never made effort to go out on dates or do anything. Now I will say for the past 6 years the relationship was never perfect. In fact, we do have a history of domestic abuse. Last September was the final straw. We got in an altercation and the cops were involved. I moved out of his house and from there it officially ended. I took the car and we both still did payments on it .We would still keep in contact with eachother but only for hookups. We would get hotels or have sex in the car at night. Never go out in the day or talk and get closure. My ex used me for sex and I accepted going back to him because it was my way of feeling loved and close to him, in the moment. A month ago on New years, I woke up and my car was gone. He traded it in for a new one. Was going to drop off my stuff in bags on my porch the next morning. Also, he met another girl and they both like eachother. Keep in mind, me and my ex hooked up 2 weeks before. On this day he took my car, I confronted him and he met me at a gas station. He told me he never loved me and it was just a bad attachment. He never loved me for 6 years. Is that even possible? While he was telling me all these hurtful things, he wasn’t looking at me in my eyes. He looked away. Couldn’t stare at me at all. He dropped me off my house and told me to move on and find someone better because he did. Its been a month and im still grieving. How can someone move on so quick when you were just talking to them weeks prior?? Its only been 5 months after we broke up and I miss him like crazy. I keep going back to him because he did message me for sex again. I asked him what happened to his new girl & he said they are “just friends.” I feel so used and I know its my fault for not valuing my self worth.

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Riya

Be grateful that you learnt all these lessons at a early age:)

something good is waiting for you. Stay Positive.

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John

I was with my girl for 8 years. November of 2020 she decided to leave me because of things we been through in the past. I love her deeply and sincerely and worked so hard to change my ways in order to be with her. I went against friends and family for her. I gave her all of me every piece inch by inch. Despite the things we put each other through I never expected her to just give up on me. I couldn’t leave her the way she left me. I feel like I was stripped of my life. I don’t have the urge to eat I can barely sleep, I’m always anxious and nervous, my chest constantly feels like I’m being pounded by a gorilla. I can’t stop the thought of her. I even have suicidal thoughts. I believe there is better for me but I only want her. My heart is literally in pain and I can feel that pain everyday and I have been feeling it for 3 months now. I’m lost and don’t know what to do.

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Riya

Hi, I understand how it feels. Been there until Jan. I understand 8 years is huge investment and you reach a point where you feel that there is no goal and no happiness left. The suicidal thing is also a trick by brain ( to make her guilty) – She may cry for you for 2 weeks max and left moves on. The revenge is show her that you moved on!

This is what I did to move on:
1) I started writing everything I felt and emailed to myself with his name.
2) I allowed myself to cry.
3) I was also not able to focus on work but watched movies instead and felt better.
4) You will be lost and time is the healer.

Believe me – I am out of it, you will be too:) Keep smiling.

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Tammy

My boyfriend of almost 3 years abruptly broke up with me 5 weeks ago and it could not have taken me anymore by surprise than it did although this is not the first time this has happened, this is the 3rd time. Every time it has been completely out of nowhere, happens the same time of year each time and he always blames me for why he is breaking up. He was married 14 yrs ago and she cheated on him and this time he broke up with me he said he feels like he thinks he can’t trust me right now but won’t tell me what I did to make him feel like that. And when I question him as to why he is doing this, he gets angry and threatens me with harassment charges or no contact orders. I have given this man my whole heart and soul and he has completely knocked the wind out of me by doing this and then add to it that he is being a jerk and that’s not helping my frame of mind. Some people think I should be over it by now but I am still very much devastated by what he has done and some days are worse than others as far as feeling like I have a huge void in my heart and my life. Any suggestions to help me deal with this. I feel completely lost and broken without him and don’t know what to do. He was always talking about our future together, we was making plans for our future and he had recently been making wife comments then all of a sudden, BAM he does this. I believe it is his own insecurities that’s causing all of this but I need help dealing with it or need some direction.

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K. Armstrong

Wow. who would have thought that a broken heart would lead me to google to people who are feeling exactly like me. Ruby I understand when you say how bad is feels that someone you invested in and loved and spent time with is now enjoying life without you while you sit and fall to pieces. I am angry at myself, I am angry at him, I feel like how dare you after all that I have done. I am confused and I just don’t understand. My friends are like girl get over it you will be fine. I know this but I dont feel fine today, yesterday and I dont think tomorrow. My stomache aches like a piece of my heart is letting off gases in it. I can’t sleep, I cant listen to the radio because the songs either remind me of him, or words i wish i could say now. The crazy part is I dont want to be back with him I just want this pain to go away for him to hurt like me and to discover that I was a good woman to me. But the reality of that happening is slim to none i actually have a better chance of my heart healing sooner than later. This article was amazing and deep it is crazy how the brain can get use to the presence of someone and actually grieve when that person is gone. Wow…

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James

A girl and I started talking in the summer. We were kind of forced into talking by mutual friends hooking us up even though I wasn’t already over my last relationship (a total disaster and given the person she was, I regret being so hurt by her). This new girl though was crazy about me and I wasn’t as much about her. After months of hanging out and trying to like her she went off to college. She then decided to leave me and once she left, I realized what I had lost. I fought for her back and finally changed her mind. From then on we were on and off about how we felt about each other. The girl I knew before college had changed and I didn’t realize why. She was constantly going to frat parties, ditching our weekend plans when her friends would all of a sudden hit her up, and trying to make me jealous. I had problems with her ex of three years still being on her instagram and she refused to take them down. It wasn’t insecurity, but I just felt like it should be taken down in respect for me. Our relationship seemed to be endless fighting and she ended up leaving me and I was okay with it, for a few months. We blocked each other on everything, and then one day she texted me and asked for me to unblock her. All my old emotions came back and I felt like I needed her. After a week of me blowing up her phone trying to win her back, she then told me she was seeing someone else and that I needed to let her be happy. Her dad texted me and told me to quit stalking and texting her. I feel so hopeless thinking I was the cause of such a toxic relationship. I feel like a controlling manipulator and a verbally abusive guy. I have called her names before that I regret completely. Even though we fought all the time over text, when we were in person everything went away and we even joked about our fights. I can’t help but feel I forced someone who really cared about me away. This is the worst feeling I have ever felt in my life, and I don’t see how I am going to come out of this. I would not wish this feeling on even my worst enemy. I wish I could have looked past things and been okay with things she did. The girl before college was the most amazing girl in the world and I can’t get it out of my head. I feel like I didn’t treat her right and that’s why it ended. I regret every fight and toxic thing we did. It truly feels like the end of the world. The thought of her finding someone who will treat her right and me being that guy that brought her down is the worst feeling in the world. I no longer have any motivation and I am at the lowest point I have ever been in my life. I don’t feel like a good guy and I wish I could have been there for her.

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adheha

..Plz don’t blame yourself .. you are a good guy and plz don’t forget different situations bring different personalities and as we grow and break we learn a lot abt ourselves…it has happened don’t punish yourself…de most important thing you are sorry and u hv realized ur mistakes ..that’s great thing cz most times we fail to admit our own mistakes …but you are not alone the right person will come into ur life ND am sure u will treat her de right way ..

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Anastasios

Man we are twins seriously i have the exact same story except not college it is university in my country. I know the feeling when someone wants you as crazy and you dont if it ends they change and after that happens everything goes to shit. I can’t tell you everything is going to be alright cause this happened to me 1 week ago and i know how you feel . I suggest do what i do. Try to close to yourself and start watching things i would suggest not romantic dramas for your own good ,but try to fill the emptiness with stupid information for a while after that go to a doctor and talk

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Anon

Damn, this explains a lot. It’s probably been a month since I decided to brake up with my boyfriend. He… wasn’t who I thought he was. He lied to my face and still hung out with his ex that ‘hurt him sooo much’. It caused me anxiety, every day having to face him, knowing he was doing all this.

And even after we broke it off, I tried to be good and friendly to him. Now he just sends messages about being back with his ex and how nice she is, and how am i going.

Help? I’ve already blocked him, but Is there any way to stop feeling pain, sadness and anger when he tries to talk to me?

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Riya

This is because you still have not accepted that he is gone.

You still have hope dear – please come out of this illusion. Your self respect matters – you cant be with a cheater.

You deserve someone better:)

Pain will be around until we decide to let go – Its who you need to tell your self that he is Bad and I just move on. Talking to yourself helps a lot.

Fall in love with yourself and be best friend to you. It helped me.

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Nat

My partner ended our 2.5 year relationship almost 2 months ago. He says he loves me, and does actually act as though he does, but he cant cope with the fact I’m still friends with my ex. (We have a daughter together and he has always disliked that my ex is still around). We had no contact for around 4 weeks and I was totally crushed. Then his friend died aged 25 and he called me immediately and needed me there. We spent a couple of days together while I helped him with his grief and he said he was taking things one day at a time…never know what might happen in the future…was not looking to meet anyone else (he had always been a loner before we met)…he would kiss my forehead and stroke my arm. I do believe that he still loves me but just cant deal with my situation. He said he will always be there for me and I was the best thing that ever happened to him…but now I’ve not heard from him in a few days and it’s like my chest is being crushed in a vice all over again. I cry every day. I cant concentrate on anything. I cant eat. I literally CAN NOT think of anything other than him and I’m now worrying that I’m becoming obsessed and it’ll never go away. I cant see any future and I just cant live in this pain anymore. I’m also drinking more to numb it a little but cant do that forever.
I’m 43. Who’s going to want me? How do I ever find anyone else? I dont want to be alone. I hate it. I’m desperate for him to phone, be a friend, be in my life as he says he wants but I also know it will only prolong my pain. I really wish I could just delete him from everything, erase all memories of him and move on but I just dont have the strength to do that. I’m weak and pathetic. I know if he calls I’ll answer and would go over if he needed me because thats what stops the pain! The turmoil in my head is completely unbearable and I honestly dont know how long I can go on with the pain there all day every day.
He’s young, attractive, chatty, nice flat, no ties … he could have someone else anytime he wants (although deep down has gambling issues and significant mental health issues which he wouldnt show for a while) and that is killing me. Is he dating already? This is absolute, utter torture. When will it end?

Reply
James

Hi Nat,

I was struck by your comment as my situation is pretty similar, in the sense that I have ongoing contact with my ex who left me and the contact is making things worse and worse, even though it’s so hard to refrain from being in contact as it’s so hard to let go of someone you love so much. When you said “I’m 43 and who is going to love me?” I really felt that…I was 44 last week and feel just like that… when you are in a committed relationship at this age you think this relationship will last forever and dealing with the loss is even harder because of the worry about the future.

Have things improved for you since you posted your comment? Would be good to know as I’m feeling pretty lost as to how to manage the anxiety and pain.

Reply
C

How to reduce pain:
1) Block/delete all forms of communication except one channel like email or letter writing -a communication form that is not immediate. Explain to your ex that you need the space and time to recover and that you want to limit contact until you have stabilised
2) listen to podcasts whenever your mind starts to think about your ex
3) find online meditations that teach you to love and feel loved without your ex
Listen to these in the morning and at night before you sleep and any other time that you need to
eg golden light meditation by manjit
https://youtu.be/xOOWMJ4Pmi0
Insight timer:
https://insig.ht/Nh395yb24gb
4) Have a look at the relationship anarchy smorgesboard, this can free up your thinking about what you expect from your ex
Work on other relationships in your life. The loss of your ex does not stop you from loving others, your friends, colleagues and family.

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Marnita M

Hi I agree I’m really struggling with my boyfriend I feel it we emotional 😭 I have never been literally so hurt physically sick that I feel bugs crawling on me

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Ash.

Same here sis, it’s 5.52 am in the morning and I’m unable to sleep cz of all the pain and trauma I’m going through, it’s getting worse day by day.

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sad

i lived with my boyfriend for 6 years, we are deeply connected and we understand each other in a way no one else can. we are a part of each others family, we talked about how we would be together forever. idk what happened, he broke up with me last week. i feel like im going to die.

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Chloe

I feel everyone’s pain on this and I have reverted the same to ask google, how do I mend this broken heart feeling, I am currently in University studying a degree in Psychology and I can honesty tell you scientifically its the same process as grief. We will go through 5 different stages: Shock, Pain, Guilt, Depression, in the end its acceptance. I feel Lockdown and this pandemic has destroyed a lot of relationships including my own, it was me and him against lockdown and lockdown defeated us. The amount of weight I have lost due to this, moving out, finding my own place to live, all’s whilst grieving a person I called my Best Friend. There are so many ‘What ifs?’ running through my head. I have found comfort in reading all your replies knowing I am not the only one in this. Please can we reach out to each other.

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Ruby

I totally feel you . I am also going through the same situation, and it totally sucks. My emotions have been hard to cope with. The amount of stress I have been going through this year lead me to depression. Even worse after a break-up I totally lost myself, even worse. I don’t have anyone to vent to but a couple of friends and it sad because you are so use to a person being your best friend and there not there anymore. This feeling is way to ugly and knowing that they are having fun without you is just a shitty feeling, while you are suffering alone.

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Taylor B

Smh I feel the exact same way. He was my only friend..my best friend. The only person I want to run and talk to is the one that caused the pain. It’s so cruel

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nana

Ruby, I’m in the same situation, only I’m 70 years old and he is 63. I look for his truck on the road look to see if he’s called and what makes things really bad, we work at the same place. I never thought he would cheat on me. We Have been together 13 years!!!!! I feel betrayed, lost, and broken hearted. I’m so lonely and he has another to make him happy. ( A rich young widow). I cry everyday. When will this pain go away. I know my family and friends are tired of hearing me cry and whine. I thought we were going to last forever. Nothing last forever. So sad.

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buyorbye

I dated my boyfriend for two years and suddenly he had to leave me because the relationship is only suffocating him. I feel lost with his disappearance as if my body refuses to work like usual. I have no appetite. I can’t sleep at night. I keep having stomachache or even fever. Half of me is gone and I can no longer feel alive. Everytime I wake up, I always hope I die. I can’t really get through a day without crying. This pain and trauma haunts me everyday. I feel useless. I have an abandonment issue.

Reply
LS

Even my Bf broke up recently. I got shocked. Everything was going well and suddenly something happened to him. I wrote this recently due to pain and suffering:

“The memories of you flooded my mind all the time and block my veins with the pain and questions. Wasnt it, love? It haunts me if I was so blind in love? Did I put all my faith in you? Every minute detail of happiness together panic me every morning, now how far I have to go. How far I have to go to discard the memories in an unknown world that doesn’t hurt anymore. If it flows back someday, I would be laughing hard on the old me with you. I want the fog to be cleared from the unpainted walls so that I can color them again.

It always bewilders me, the mind and heart aware of things are now cold and rough. They are devoid of what they knew. Should I be happy that it never happened to me or upset that I haven’t experienced that feeling?
How tough would it be for a person to give promises when one is not certain of himself. One is constantly calculating love in mind rather than leaving those feelings at heart. Wasn’t their senses talking to them at the time of taking any decisions which were based on some vague theories. Or were they keeping that one person in a closed-loop? Or were they hoping that they will change for better without putting any efforts? If I started finding the answer to all these, I might end up where I began. So, it’s better to see the new world rather I lost in the past.”

Reply
Loryee

Dear Sad,
I understand your pain. A break up is always extremely heart breaking to the point we’re confusions starts to arise and your thoughts and emotions start racing 100 mph. At this point, you’re trying to find comfort. Desperately looking for answers and wanting to heal that broken heart! You’ll need to give it some space/time if you are or have tried reaching out to him and he isn’t giving you answers and is ignoring you. Give it a bit of a time you don’t want to push him further. I know it’s hard but, take this time to reflect and to look deep within yourself, the relationship, and his actions. Where there any indications in the relationship where you notice his behaviors being odd? Or did you see any subtle changes in terms of his demeanor towards you? or any comments that you can think of that might have led to the sudden break up and you might have missed those cues?! Or did you hear your ex expressing a certain issue and you didn’t think much of it? Did you feel him slowly distancing himself but you thought otherwise? Was he overwhelm in anyway maybe work, life, family that you might have missed? Did you pressure him in any subject he wasn’t ready for? Did you suspect any cheating on his part? The question that we all answers to is… WHY?! Why did he just walk away like that if things were good between you and him? Whatever that may be, again, I am not justifying your ex behaviors, of him all of a sudden leaving you the way he did. It’s wrong and he should of had the common courtesy to talk to you if you were together for that long. I believe everyone deserves an explanation no matter the length of time you’ve been with your loved one, partner or boyfriend. I hope when things settle down and you’ve gather your thoughts/emotions and he has too, that he realizes his error of his ways and will be willing to explain his reasoning. I hope that you get your answers for the sake of your well being.

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Keith T

Same my fiancé broke up with me after dating 9 years right as I got back from Italy. I was in the army as a paratrooper. My heart aches so badly and nothing is helping me to get over it. My whole life has been with her (high school sweethearts) and I just don’t know what to do. She said she needed time to get to know herself. I don’t know what that means to be honest.

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One of our rituals was in the week before Christmas, we’d go shopping and each kiddo would choose a keepsake decoration for the tree. This would forever be their decoration. To make sure we’d remember who owned what (a year is a long time!) I wrote their name and year on the box. The idea is that when they leave home, they’ll have a collection of special decorations for their own tree, plump with throwbacks (‘Oh I remember when we bought this!).

Then of course there was Christmas morning. Santa would leave a note on the table and bootprints on the front path, which smelled remarkably like talcum powder. So magical the way the snow was under the boot and never melted, even in an Australian summer! But that’s the magic of Christmas, right?!

We often put so much pressure on ourselves to make Christmas magical. Rituals can make this easier. They get the special memories, you get to make the ‘magic’ without having to come up with something new and different each year.

It’s very likely that there will already be Christmas rituals happening in your family, even if you don’t realise it. Ask them what they remember most, or what they loved most about last Christmas, aside from the presents.

They might surprise you with things you’d completely forgotten about, or which at the time didn’t seem to be a biggie. It can be the simplest things. Maybe they loved the way they were allowed to have ice-cream with pancakes at breakfast last Christmas. (Ice-cream at breakfast?! Told you Christmas was magical!!). 

If it’s what they remember, and if it lights them up, let it become a ‘thing’. Maybe they loved the magic ‘neverending carrot’ sprinkles you put on the scrawny carrot you found in the vege drawer (remembering reindeer groceries can be so hard sometimes!)

You’d be surprised what they find special. It doesn’t have to be big to feel magical.

What are your Christmas rituals? Let’s share ideas in the comments.♥️
We're having a sale! For a limited time, books and plushies are 25% off. 

Because sales are the best, and Christmas is the best, and helping kiddos find their brave is the very best of all! So, to celebrate the end of the year (because truly, it's been a year hasn't it), and to help you settle brave hearts for next year, or night times, or separations, or, you know, all the things, we're taking 25% off books and plushies in the Hey Sigmund shop.

There's no need to enter a code. The books and bundles are already marked with their special sale prices. You'll find them all there - plushies, books, bundles - doing shopping cartwheels, beside themselves excited about helping your young ones feel bigger than anxiety, and shimmy on to brave. 
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It can feel as though the only way to strengthen them against their anxiety is to make sure they have nothing to worry about, but when their worries are real this might not happen quickly. 

Instead, we need to focus on helping them know that even though those worries are there, they will be okay. ‘Not worrying’ isn’t the antidote to anxiety, trust is. This will start with trust in you and your belief that they will be okay, and trust in your reaction if things don’t go to plan. Eventually, as they grow this will expand into trust in themselves and their own capacity to find their way through challenges to a place of hope and strength. 
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Strong steady breathing will reverse the fight or flight physiology that causes nausea, butterflies, or sick or sore tummies during anxiety. BUT telling an anxious brain to take a strong steady breath will potentially make anxiety worse unless strong steady breathing feels familiar. Practising during calm times will make it familiar. 

During anxiety we’re dealing with their amygdala, and it wants short shallow breathing to conserve oxygen. It doesn’t want strong steady breathing and will work hard to resist this. 

An anxious brain is a busy brain and it will be less able to do anything unfamiliar. A few minutes of strong steady breathing each day will set up a strong neural pathway to make strong breathing more automatic and accessible during anxiety. 

In the meantime though, you can do it for them. This is the magic of co-regulation. When you do strong steady breathing during their anxiety, it will calm your nervous system which will eventually calm theirs. You will catch their anxiety, and this will feed into their anxiety. Your strong steady breathing is the circuit breaker. They will catch your anxiety, but they will also catch your calm. Don’t worry if this takes a few minutes (and maybe a few more after that). Anxious brains are strong, powerful, beautiful brains working hard to protect. Breathe and be with. This will open the way for that distressed young nervous system to find its way home. And you don’t need to do more than that.♥️
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#heywarrior #parenting #bravekids #anxietyinkids #kidsanxiety #parent #parenthood
Needs and behaviour can get tangled up and treated as one. When you can, separate the need from the behaviour. Give voice to the need - let it find a way to breathe - and redirect the behaviour. 

The need might always be clear, especially if it’s being smothered by angry shouting words. If we stifle the behaviour without acknowledging the need, the need stays hungry. Help usher it into the light by making it clear that you’re ready to receive it. Then wait. Wait for the big behaviour to ease, for bodies to calm, and angry voices to soften - but keep the way to you open. ‘You’re a great kid and I know you know that behaviour wasn’t okay. Talk to me about what’s happening for you.’

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